John Houston Stockton is an American former professional basketball player. He spent his entire professional playing career as a point guard for the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association, from 1984 to 2003. Stockton is regarded as one of the greatest point guards of all time, holding the NBA records for most career assists and steals by wide margins, he is a ten-time NBA All-Star, a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. In 2015, Stockton became an assistant coach for the Montana State University women's basketball team. Stockton was born in Spokane, Washington, to Clementine Frei and Jack Stockton, Stockton's ancestry is Irish and Swiss German, he attended grade school at St. Aloysius and moved on to high school at Gonzaga Prep and graduated in 1980, after breaking the city record for points scored in a single basketball season. After considering offers from Don Monson at Idaho and Mike Montgomery at Montana, both in the Big Sky Conference, Stockton decided to stay in Spokane and play college basketball for Dan Fitzgerald at Gonzaga University.
He became the third generation in his family at GU. Fitzgerald was the athletic director. During his senior year for the Bulldogs in 1984, Stockton averaged 20.9 points per game, shooting 57% from the field. The Zags posted a 17–11 record, their best in 17 years, Stockton led the West Coast Athletic Conference in scoring and steals, he was one of 74 college seniors invited to the spring tryouts for the 1984 U. S. Olympic team, coached by Bob Knight. Stockton made the initial cut in April to the final twenty, but was one of four released in May in the ultimate cut to 16 players. Though not selected, the experience led him to meet friend, Karl Malone. In June 1984, Stockton was selected by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the 1984 NBA draft with the 16th overall pick. A relative unknown during his college career, his stock rose in the months before the draft; the announcement of his selection to the thousands of Jazz fans gathered at the Salt Palace on draft day was met with a stunned silence. Stockton became the starting point guard for the Jazz in the 1986–87 season.
In 1988–89, he played in his first All-Star Game, led the NBA in assists per game for the first of nine consecutive seasons. In 1992, Stockton and the Jazz reached the Western Conference Finals for the first time, but were defeated by the Portland Trail Blazers in six games. Along with Malone, Stockton was named co-MVP of the All-Star Game in 1993. Stockton and the Jazz reached the Conference Finals again in 1994 and 1996, but lost to the Houston Rockets and the Seattle SuperSonics, respectively. Utah led the Western Conference with 64 wins in the 1996 -- 97 season; the team again reached the Western Conference Finals. In Game Six of the Conference Finals, Stockton scored 25 points and made a buzzer-beating, game-winning three-point shot over the Houston Rockets' Charles Barkley to send the Jazz to the first of two consecutive NBA Finals appearances. Stockton's game-winner became known as "The Shot"; the Jazz were defeated by the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in six games in the Finals. Stockton missed the first 18 games of the 1997–98 season with a knee injury, but the Jazz returned to the NBA Finals and again faced the Bulls.
In Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, Stockton made a three-pointer with 41.9 seconds left to give the Jazz a lead, but Bulls guard Michael Jordan made two field goals to put his team ahead 87–86. Stockton missed a three-point attempt with 5.2 seconds left and said in a post-game interview that he felt confident that the shot would go in. The Bulls again defeated the Jazz in six games; the Jazz made the NBA Playoffs every season during Stockton's 19-year NBA career. On May 2, 2003, Stockton announced his retirement with a released statement instead of the customary news conference; the Jazz held a retirement ceremony for him, in which Salt Lake City renamed the street in front of the venue known as Delta Center, where the Jazz play, John Stockton Drive. Stockton would declare that despite being still content with the game and how well he was playing, his growing family made him feel that "sitting in the hotel room waiting for games wasn't making up for what I was missing at home."Stockton's number 12 jersey was retired by the Jazz during a game on November 22, 2004.
A statue of Stockton can be seen in front of the Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Malone and Stockton statues stand on a bronze plaque commemorating their achievements together. Stockton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. Stockton was inducted into the Hall of Fame along with the rest of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team in 2010. Stockton, along with other NBA stars, played on the basketball team in that year's Olympics in Barcelona, Spain; the 1992 team was the first U. S. Olympic squad to feature NBA players; the team became known as the Dream Team. Stockton played on the 1996 U. S. men's Olympic basketball team. Stockton won gold medals with both 1996 teams. Stockton was known for his unassuming
Russell Westbrook III is an American professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association. He is an eight-time NBA All-Star, a two-time NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, winning consecutive awards in 2015 and 2016, he is a seven-time All-NBA Team member and led the league in scoring in 2014–15 and 2016–17. In 2017, Westbrook became one of two players in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season, along with Oscar Robertson in 1962, he set a record for the most triple-doubles in a season, with 42. He was subsequently named the 2016–17 NBA Most Valuable Player, he went on to average a triple-double the following two seasons as well as leading the league in assists and becoming the first player to lead the league in points and assists in multiple seasons. Westbrook played college basketball for the UCLA Bruins and earned third-team all-conference honors in the Pac-10, he was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, who relocated to Oklahoma City six days later.
Westbrook has represented the United States national team twice, winning gold medals in the 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2012 Olympics. Westbrook was born in California, to Russell Westbrook Jr. and Shannon Horton. He has a younger brother named Raynard. Growing up in Hawthorne and his best friend, Khelcey Barrs III, had hopes of going to UCLA and playing together. However, in May 2004, Barrs died from an enlarged heart during a pickup game. Westbrook entered Leuzinger High School as a point guard who stood only 5 ft 8 in tall and weighed only 140 pounds, although he did have large feet, he did not start on his school's varsity team until his junior year, did not receive his first college recruiting letter until the summer before his senior year. Westbrook grew to his adult height of 6 ft 3 in that same summer. During his senior year, Westbrook averaged 25.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.1 steals, 2.3 assists and helped lead them to a 25-4 record. That same season, he recorded 14 double-doubles, scored 30 or more points on eight separate occasions, registered a career-best 51 points at Carson on January 6, 2006.
Westbrook did not attract much attention from top college basketball programs until head coach Ben Howland offered him a scholarship to play for the UCLA Bruins after Jordan Farmar declared for the NBA draft. Westbrook wore number 0 throughout his career at UCLA; as a freshman in 2006–07, he played as a back up to Darren Collison and was used as a defender and energy player off the bench. Westbrook averaged 3.4 points, 0.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists on the year. The next season, Collison was injured and Westbrook was named the starter, he finished the season averaging 3.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.6 steals. At the end of the year, he was named All-Pac-10 Third Team and won the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. UCLA advanced to the Final Four during each of Westbrook's seasons with the team. In 2007, they lost to eventual national champion Florida, 76–66 and in 2008, they lost 78–63 to Memphis. After two years at UCLA, he decided to enter the 2008 NBA draft. Westbrook was selected 4th overall in the 2008 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics.
He signed with the team on July 5, 2008. On March 2, 2009, Westbrook recorded his first career triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, he was the first rookie since Chris Paul and the third rookie in Sonics/Thunder franchise history to record a triple-double. Westbrook averaged 15.3 points, 5.3 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals on the season. He finished fourth in the 2008–09 NBA Rookie of the Year voting behind Rookie of the Year winner Derrick Rose, O. J. Mayo and Brook Lopez, he was named to the NBA's NBA All-Rookie First Team. In his second year, first season as a full-time starter, Westbrook went on to average 16.1 points, 8.0 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals on the season. On April 4, 2010, he recorded 10 points and a career-high 16 assists in a 116-108 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves; the Thunder made a huge turnaround by more than doubling their wins from the previous season and qualified for the playoffs with a 50–32 record. However, the Thunder were eliminated by the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.
In the series, Westbrook stepped up his play from the regular season, averaging 20.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 3.2 steals. On November 26, 2010, Westbrook scored a then-career-high 43 points against the Indiana Pacers. On December 1, 2010, he scored 38 points with 9 assists and achieved a new career-high of 15 rebounds in a triple-overtime win over the New Jersey Nets. Westbrook was selected by the NBA head coaches to be a Western Conference reserve for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game; this was his first all-star appearance. Westbrook finished the season with averages of 21.9 points, 8.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 1.9 steals. He was named to the All-NBA Second Team for the first time; the Thunder finished the season at 55–27 and lost to the eventual world champion Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. Westbrook averaged 6.4 assists and 5.4 rebounds in the playoffs. In the 2011–12 season, Westbrook was again selected by the coaches to participate in the 2012 NBA All-Star Game. On March 23, 2012, he scored a career-high 45 points in a 149–140 double overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
He averaged 23.6 points, 5.5 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals for the lockout-shortened season and was voted to the All-NBA Second Team for the second
2014 NBA All-Star Game
The 2014 NBA All-Star Game was an exhibition basketball game that took place on February 16, 2014, at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, home of the New Orleans Pelicans. The game was the 63rd edition of the National Basketball Association All-Star Game and was played during the 2013–14 NBA season; the Pelicans were awarded the All-Star Game in an announcement by commissioner David Stern on April 16, 2012. It was the second time. Starters for the game were selected by the fans, who could select three frontcourt players and two guards for each conference. LeBron James was the leading vote-getter with 1,416,419 votes. Stephen Curry was voted as a starter in first All-Star selection, after leading all Western Conference guards in the voting, while Kevin Love overtook Dwight Howard for the final frontcourt starting spot for the West. Frank Vogel, coach of the Indiana Pacers, Scott Brooks, coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, were selected as the East and West head coach, respectively. Kyrie Irving scored 31 points and had 14 assists and was named the NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player to help the East stop a three-game losing streak and win 163–155 in the second highest-scoring game in All-Star history.
Carmelo Anthony added 30 points for the East and made a record eight three-pointers, one of 11 All-Star records that were broken in the game. The West was led by Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin, who both finished with 38 points, four short of Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star record in 1962. 2014 All-Star Game at NBA.com
2009 NBA All-Star Game
The 2009 NBA All-Star Game was an exhibition basketball game played on February 15, 2009 at US Airways Center in Phoenix, home of the Phoenix Suns. The game was the 58th edition of the National Basketball Association All-Star Game and was played during the 2008–09 NBA season; this was the third time. Phoenix was awarded the All-Star Game in an announcement by commissioner David Stern on November 8, 2007; the other reported contenders for the 2009 contest were Air Canada Centre at Toronto, Madison Square Garden at New York City, Oracle Arena at Oakland and Bradley Center at Milwaukee. The All-Star Weekend began on Friday, February 13, 2009 with the Celebrity Game and the Rookie Challenge, a game between the league's best rookies and second-year players. On Saturday, the event continued with the All-Star Saturday Night, which featured the Shooting Stars Competition, Skills Challenge, Three-Point Shootout and Slam Dunk Contest; the H–O–R–S–E Competition was first introduced and was played before the All-Star Saturday Night.
The third D-League All-Star Game and the second D-League Dream Factory Friday Night, the latter of, modeled after the NBA All-Star Saturday Night took place during the All-Star Weekend. The D-League Dream Factory Friday Night was held on Friday and the D-League All-Star Game was held on Saturday; the Western Conference All-Star team defeated the Eastern Conference All-Star team 146–119. West's Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal were named joint-winners of the game's MVP. In the Rookie Challenge, the Sophomores defeated the Rookies, with Sophomores' Kevin Durant named as the game MVP. In the All-Star Saturday Night events, Nate Robinson won his second Slam Dunk Contest while Daequan Cook and Derrick Rose won the Three-Point Shootout and Skills Challenge respectively. Team Detroit won their second Shootings Stars Competition, beating the home team, Team Phoenix in the final round. Kevin Durant took home another trophy by winning the inaugural H–O–R–S–E Competition; the coaches for the All-Star game are the head coaches who lead the teams with the best winning percentage in their conference through the Sunday two weeks before the All-Star game.
The head coaches from the previous year, Doc Rivers and Byron Scott were not eligible for selection. The coach for the Western Conference team was Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson; this was the fourth time Jackson was selected to be an All-Star coach, after selected in 1992, 1996 and 2000. The Lakers entered the All-Star break with 42–10 record, the best winning percentage in the Western Conference and in the league; the coach for the Eastern Conference team was Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown. This was the first time, he became only the second Cavaliers coach to lead an All-Star team, after Lenny Wilkens in 1989. The Cavaliers entered the All-Star break with 40–11 record, the second best winning percentage in the Eastern Conference, behind Doc Rivers' Boston Celtics; the rosters for the All-Star Game is chosen in two ways. The starters were chosen via a fan ballot. Two guards, two forwards and one center who receive the highest vote were named the All-Star starters; the reserves were chosen by votes among the NBA head coaches in their respective conferences.
The coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players. The reserves consists of two guards, two forwards, one center and two players regardless of position. If a player is unable to participate due to injury, the commissioner will select a replacement. Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic topped the All-Star Ballots with 3,150,181 votes, which earned him a starting position in the Eastern Conference team, he became the first player to get more than 3 million votes from the fans. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett and Allen Iverson completed the Eastern Conference starting position; the Eastern Conference reserves includes 4 first-time selections, Danny Granger, Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson and Mo Williams, named as a replacement for the injured Chris Bosh. Jameer Nelson was unable to participate due to injury and Ray Allen was named to replace him. Both Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic were represented by three players on the roster; the Western Conference leading vote-getter was Kobe Bryant with 2,805,397 votes.
Yao Ming, Tim Duncan, Amar'e Stoudemire and Chris Paul completed the Western Conference starting position. The Western Conference roster includes five international players in Yao Ming, Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker. Shaquille O'Neal returned to the All-Star game after one-year absence with his 15th selection, the second most selection in NBA history, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 19 All-Star selections; this marked the first time O'Neal and Bryant were in the same team since their much publicized feud. Bryant and O'Neal reunited with coach Phil Jackson; the three of them won three successive NBA championship together with the Los Angeles Lakers in early 2000s. Phoenix Suns' Shaquille O'Neal marked his return to the NBA All-Star Game after one-year absence with an unusual entry to the game. O'Neal, the last reserve called during the player introduction, came out with a white mask and began dancing with the dance group JabbaWockeeZ before opening his mask and joining the rest of the players on the court.
O'Neal and previous year's regular season MVP Kobe Bryant led the West to a 146–119 victory and were named co-MVPs. This was the third All-Star Game MVP award for both players; the East led 20–10 early in the game before West coach, Phil Jackson decided to send O'Neal to the court. With O'Neal and Bryant on the court for the first time since 200
Gary Dwayne Payton Sr. is an American retired professional basketball player. He started at the point guard position, he is best known for his 13-year tenure with the Seattle SuperSonics, holds Seattle franchise records in points and steals. He played with the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, the last with whom he won an NBA championship, he was nicknamed "The Glove" for his excellent defensive abilities. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on September 8, 2013. Payton is considered one of the best point guards of all time and is the only point guard to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, he was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times, an NBA record he shares with Michael Jordan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant. He was a nine-time NBA All-Star and a nine-time All-NBA Team member. Considered the "NBA's reigning high scorer among point guards" in his prime, Payton is referred to as "probably as complete a guard as there was" by Basketball Hall of Famer Gail Goodrich.
Payton was born in California. He played high school basketball at Skyline High School in Oakland, along with former NBA player Greg Foster, before attending Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. In his second year, his grades plummeted and he was declared academically ineligible, his dad encouraged him to focus on school, he was allowed to play again. Throughout his four-year career at OSU, he became one of the most decorated basketball players in OSU history. During his senior year, Payton was featured on the March 5, 1990 cover of Sports Illustrated magazine as the nation's best college basketball player, he was a consensus All-American in 1990, a three-time All-Pac-10 selection, both the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and conference Freshman of the Year in 1987. He was the MVP of the Far West Classic tournament three times and was the Pac-10 Player of the Week nine times, he was named to the Pac-10's All-Decade Team. At the time of his graduation, he held the school record for points, field goals, three-point field goals and steals – all of which he still holds today except for career three-point field goals.
During his career at OSU, the Beavers made one NIT appearance. He was elected into OSU's Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. Payton was the second overall pick in the 1990 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, spent his first 12½ seasons with the Sonics. Entering the league to star-studded expectations, Payton struggled during his first two seasons in the league, averaging 8.2 points per game during that span. However, he soon proved himself to be one of the league's top point guards, during the 1990s Payton, alongside Shawn Kemp formed the "Sonic Boom" – one of the most thrilling tandems of all time, he earned his first of 9 consecutive All-NBA team selections when he was chosen to the All-NBA Third team in 1994. Payton would go on to make the All-NBA First-Team in 1998 and 2000, All-NBA Second Team in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002, All-NBA Third Team in 1994 and 2001, he was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team a record nine consecutive seasons, won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1996, the first guard to win the award in 8 years.
He has been selected to the NBA All-Star Team nine times and was voted as a starter in 1997 and 1998. He was a member of the gold medal-winning 1996 and 2000 U. S. Men's Olympic Basketball Teams. In 1996, Payton and the SuperSonics, under coach George Karl, reached the NBA Finals after winning a franchise record 64 games and lost in six games to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls. Payton feuded with Howard Schultz, who bought the SuperSonics in 2001; when Payton did not attend the first day of training camp in 2002, Schultz decided to trade Payton. In the middle of the 2002–03 season at the trade deadline, Payton was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks along with Desmond Mason in exchange for Ray Allen, Kevin Ollie, Ronald Murray. Payton played the remaining 28 games with the Bucks, 7.4 assists per game. The Bucks faced the defending Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets in the first round of the playoffs, pushing the Nets to six games before losing to the more experienced and well rounded Nets. Payton led the Bucks in scoring and assists during the series, which included a 20-point, 14-assist performance in a game 4 Milwaukee win.
As an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2003–04 season, along with Karl Malone, signed with the Los Angeles Lakers to make a run at their first NBA Championship. Payton started in all 82 games and averaged 14.6 points with 5.5 assists and 1.2 steals but struggled with Lakers coach Phil Jackson's triangle offense, which limited his ball-handling and post-up opportunities. Payton provided offense in games where superstar teammates Shaquille O'Neal or Kobe Bryant could not play due to injury, including a 30-point output in an overtime win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 4. Despite injuries to Malone, O'Neal and Bryant throughout the season, the Lakers won 56 games and the Pacific Division. In the playoffs, Payton averaged just 7.8 points per game but scored 15 points in games 3 and 6 of the Lakers' semifinal series against the San Antonio Spurs, scored 18 points to go with 9 assists in game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers would reach the NBA Finals before falling to the Detroit Pistons in 5 games, with Payton struggling to contain Chauncey Billups who torched the Laker defense and won the Finals MVP award.
Prior to the 2004–05 season, the Lakers traded Payton and Rick Fox to the Boston Celtics for center Chris Mihm, small forward Jumaine Jones and point guard Chucky Atkins. W
2002 NBA All-Star Game
The 2002 NBA All-Star Game was an exhibition basketball game, played on February 10, 2002 at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, home of the Philadelphia 76ers. This game was the 51st edition of the North American NBA All-Star Game and was played during the 2001–02 NBA season; the venue was scheduled for the 1998-99 NBA season, but was cancelled due to the 1998-99 NBA lockout and moved to 2002. The West defeated the East 135-120, with Kobe Bryant of the L. A. Lakers winning the Most Valuable Player. Bryant scored 31 points, dished 5 assists, grabbed 5 rebounds, despite being booed by the hometown crowd. Tracy McGrady led the way for the East, scoring 25 points off the bench, he made one of the most memorable plays in All-Star Game history, the self pass off the backboard dunk. This was the last All-Star Game to feature players wearing their respective team jerseys, thus far, the last to be seen on over-the-air television; the coach for the Western Conference team was Dallas Mavericks head coach Don Nelson.
The Mavericks had a 35-14 record on February 10. The coach for the Eastern Conference team was New Jersey Nets head coach Byron Scott; the Nets had a 32-15 record on February 10. The rosters for the All-Star Game were chosen in two ways; the starters were chosen via a fan ballot. Two guards, two forwards and one center who received the highest vote were named the All-Star starters; the reserves were chosen by votes among the NBA head coaches in their respective conferences. The coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players; the reserves consist of two guards, two forwards, one center and two players regardless of position. If a player is unable to participate due to injury, the commissioner will select a replacement. For the third consecutive year, Vince Carter of the Toronto Raptors topped the ballots with 1,470,176 votes, which earned him a starting position as a forward in the Eastern Conference team for the third year in a row. Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, Antoine Walker, Dikembe Mutombo completed the Eastern Conference starting position.
This was the third consecutive All-Star appearance by Carter and Iverson, Mutombo's eighth appearance as an All-Star. It marked Jordan's thirteenth appearance as an All-Star, the first after his return from retirement; the Eastern Conference reserves included four first-time selections, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Baron Davis, Jermaine O'Neal, Paul Pierce. Ray Allen, Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady, Alonzo Mourning rounded out the team. Two teams, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, had two representatives at the All-Star Game with Iverson/Mutombo, Walker/Pierce. For the second consecutive year, the Western Conference's leading vote-getter was Shaquille O'Neal, who earned his ninth consecutive All-Star Game selection with 1,247,438 votes. Steve Francis, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan completed the Western Conference starting positions. Bryant, Garnett, O'Neal, Duncan were all starters for the previous year's Western Conference team. Francis became an All-Star for the first time; the Western Conference reserves include five first-time selections, Elton Brand, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Peja Stojaković, Wally Szczerbiak.
The team is rounded out by Gary Payton, Chris Webber, Karl Malone. Four teams, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, had two representations at the All-Star Game with Bryant/O'Neal, Nash/Nowitzki, Garnett/Szczerbiak, Webber/Stojaković. ^INJ Vince Carter and Shaquille O'Neal were unable to participate due to injury.^REP Baron Davis and Elton Brand were named as Carter and O'Neal's replacements respectively.^1 Jason Kidd and Chris Webber were named as starters, replacing Carter and O'Neal This year's contest adopted a new format. Two pairs of contestants faced each other, with the winner of each matchup advancing to the final round. Prior to each dunk, the players would spin a wheel to determine what kind of dunk they had to perform. 2002 NBA All-Star Game Homepage NBA All-Star 2002 Participants 2002 All-Star Game Recap: NBA History 2002 All-Star Game Box Score: NBA History
Larry Joe Bird is an American former professional basketball player, former coach, former executive who most served as President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers in the National Basketball Association. Nicknamed "The Hick from French Lick," Bird has been described as one of the greatest basketball players and greatest shooters of all time. Drafted into the NBA by the Boston Celtics with the sixth overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft, Bird started at small forward and power forward for the Celtics for 13 seasons. Bird was a 12-time NBA All-Star and received the NBA Most Valuable Player Award three consecutive times, he played his entire professional career for Boston, winning three NBA championships and two NBA Finals MVP awards. Bird was a member of the gold-medal-winning 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team known as "The Dream Team", he was voted to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998, was inducted into the Hall of Fame again in 2010 as a member of "The Dream Team".
After retiring as a player, Bird served as head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000. He was named NBA Coach of the Year for the 1997-1998 season and led the Pacers to a berth in the 2000 NBA Finals. In 2003, Bird was named President of Basketball Operations for the Pacers, holding the position until retiring in 2012, he was named NBA Executive of the Year for the 2012 season. Bird returned to the Pacers as President of Basketball Operations in 2013 and remained in that role until 2017; as of 2012, Bird is the only person in NBA history to be named Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, NBA Finals MVP, All-Star MVP, Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year. Bird was born in West Baden Springs, Indiana, to Georgia and Claude Joseph "Joe" Bird, a veteran of the Korean War, he was raised in nearby French Lick, where his mother worked two jobs to support Larry and his five siblings. Bird has said that being poor as a child still motivates him "to this day". Georgia and Joe divorced when Larry was in high school, Joe committed suicide about a year later.
Larry used basketball as an escape from his family troubles, starring for Springs Valley High School and averaging 31 points, 21 rebounds, 4 assists as a senior on his way to becoming the school's all-time scoring leader. Bird received a scholarship to play college basketball for the Indiana University Hoosiers in 1974. After less than a month on campus he dropped out of school, finding the adjustment between his small hometown and the large student population of Bloomington to be overwhelming, he returned to French Lick, enrolling at Northwood Institute in nearby West Baden, working municipal jobs for a year before enrolling at Indiana State University in Terre Haute in 1975. He had a successful three-year career with the Sycamores, helping them reach the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history with a 33-0 record where they played the 1979 championship game against Michigan State. Indiana State lost the game 75 -- 64, with Bird scoring 19 points; the game achieved the highest television rating for a college basketball game, in large part because of the matchup between Bird and Spartans' point guard Earvin "Magic" Johnson, a rivalry that lasted throughout their professional careers.
Despite failing to win the championship, Bird earned numerous year-end awards and honors for his outstanding play, including the Naismith College Player of the Year Award. For his college career, he averaged 30.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists per game, leading the Sycamores to an 81–13 record during his tenure. Bird appeared in one game for the baseball team, going 1-for-2 with 2 RBI. Bird was selected by the Boston Celtics with the sixth overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft, he did not sign with the Celtics immediately. Red Auerbach publicly stated that he would not pay Bird more than any Celtic on the current roster, but Bird's agent bluntly told Red that Bird would reject any sub-market offers and enter the 1979 NBA Draft instead, where Boston's rights would expire the second the draft began and Bird would have been the top pick. After protracted negotiations, Bird inked a five-year, $3.25 million contract with the team, making him the highest paid rookie in league history at the time.
Shortly afterwards, NBA draft eligibility rules were changed to prevent teams from drafting players before they were ready to sign, a rule known as the Bird Collegiate Rule. In his rookie season, Bird transformed the Celtics into a title contender; the team improved its win total by 32 games from the year before he was drafted and finished first in the Eastern Conference. With averages of 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.7 steals per game for the season, he was selected to the All-Star Team and named Rookie of the Year. In the Conference Finals, Boston was eliminated by the Philadelphia 76ers. Before the 1980–81 season, the Celtics selected forward Kevin McHale in the draft and acquired center Robert Parish from the Golden State Warriors, forming a Hall of Fame trio for years to come. Behind Bird's leadership and Boston's upgraded roster, the Celtics again advanced to the Conference Finals for a rematch with the 76ers. Boston fell behind 3–1 to start the series but won the next three games to advance to the Finals against the Houston Rockets, winning in six games and earning Bird his first championship.
He averaged 21.9 points, 14 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 2.3